If you’re going to make a Twitter fail, you may as well make it spectacular, as US Airways recently found out. When faced with a complaint on Twitter, the airline’s social media team responded by directing the poor customer to view a pornographic image.
Yesterday it responded to a tweet from a young female user called “Alex” who said: “You ruined my spring break, I want some free stuff @USAirways H8 YOU”.
The airline replied: “We don’t like to hear this, Alex. Please provide feedback to our Customer Relations team here,” followed by a link to a pornographic image of a woman performing a sex act with a model Boeing 777 (below). Reportedly, the aircraft’s insignia was obscured but at least there was some attempt at brand placement.
Many of US Airways’ 420,000 followers responded to the exchange to express a mixture of disgust, anger, surprise and amusement and it later emerged that the same link had been used in responses to other users as well. The airline has since apologised and said it was “investigating” the source of the tweets, which have since been removed. Many people have speculated that the image was posted as a cruel joke by departing member of US Airways’ dedicated social media team.
Still, they do say there is no such thing as bad publicity, and the tweets (and the accompanying image) became so popular in the Twitterverse that it became the top trending topic in the US. The enthusiastic lady also ended up receiving more comments and retweets than the breaking news of the Pulitzer Prize award winners. Just shows how little effort is needed to get anywhere these days…
If you’d like to see the INCREDIBLY NSFW IMAGE, click here.
Personal privacy groups have long been unhappy with the internet giant and even Microsoft got in on the action, shouting “Don’t Get Scroogled by Gmail” when they were trying to convince everyone to use Outlook.
One court case against Google’s sniffing around our emails, District Judge Lucy H. Koh said that Google’s terms of service and privacy polices did not explicitly notify the plaintiffs “that Google would intercept users’ emails for the purposes of creating user profiles or providing targeted advertising.”
After that was said, Google spontaneously decided to update their terms of service, which came into play as of Monday, adding the provision that “Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.”
Not only that, but it looks like they’ve got some more wearable tech in the pipeline which could well creep out the kind of people who think the sky is falling on their heads.
Basically, those worried about Google Glass taking photos without consent will love the news that Google now has a pending patent for a contact lens embedded with a camera. That’s Google Glass which you wouldn’t be able to see if someone was wearing it. That’s human beings, essentially walking around with a camera stuck on their eyeball. It’ll be ace of paparazzi photographers.
Google say that the development would be used or diabetics and blind people, which is a nice idea; but if Glass takes off, you can’t see a scenario where Google wouldn’t want to try and make a shedload of money from it with a general sale.
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has put forward an approach to privacy, with regards to technology, which is technology-neutral in their definition of “surveillance device”. Basically, what the ALRC are saying is that things like Google Glass are able to record private conversations or activities and if you haven’t got consent, then it should be illegal.
“Offences in surveillance device laws should include an offence proscribing the surveillance or recording of private conversations or activities without the consent of the participants,” say the ALRC.
“This offence should apply regardless of whether the person carrying out the surveillance is a participant to the conversation or activity, and regardless of whether the monitoring or recording takes place on private property.”
Now, of course, people can film things with their mobile phones or digital cameras, but it is a little more clear if someone is filming you with a handset. With Glass, someone could film you without you necessarily knowing. And obviously, governments like to copy each other, so if this move proves popular, we could see personal privacy rules being brought in, with regards to Glass, by other countries.
There’s already been bother with a Glass wearer who went to the cinema with them on, which ended up with homeland security being called out. There’s a whole host of personal privacy issues for anyone who is online, so is Glass potentially a personal privacy minefield which Google are ignoring, or hoping no-one will notice or care?
Do you have a hotmail email account? Firstly – what is this? 1998? Secondly, you might want to know that Microsoft aren’t exactly fussed about your privacy. You see, they’ve admitted that they read the Hotmail inbox of a blogger while they were investigating a software leak.
John Frank, deputy general counsel for Microsoft, said it took “extraordinary actions in this case” and, to keep the lawyers away, the search itself was technically legal.
What happened was that Microsoft’s snooping came to light during a legal case by US prosecutors against an ex-Microsoft employee, Alex Kibalko.
Microsoft were looking into the blogger had been given stolen lines of code from Windows 8. The blogger released screenshots of the code to his blog and Microsoft wanted to find the source of the leak. And so they started looking at the emails in the blogger’s accounts, so they could find the name of the employee dishing out secrets.
This snooping is allowed within Microsoft’s terms of service, which say: ”Microsoft reserves the right to review materials posted to the Communication Services and to remove any materials in its sole discretion.”
However, people are still unhappy with that and there are more debates about privacy violations of tech companies cropping up and, in addition to that, it has to be pointed out that Microsoft have been vocally critical of Google’s scanning of users emails, leaving them looking not only like nosey-parkers, but hypocrites too.
The aim of this would be to defend freedom and privacy and ensure the rights of web users. This Magna Carta 2.0 would guarantee the independence and integrity of the World Wide Web as a whole. Of course, asking web giants to do it could be problematic, given that half of them seem to be in cahoots with government spying and Facebook is, well, nosey without anyone’s influence.
Berners-Lee made the statement as part of the internet’s 25th birthday celebrations and since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on everyone, Sir Tim has been a loud critic of online surveillance.
He thinks that it is now time for us all to make a communal decision on what the internet is going to be in the future.
Berners-Lee sees 2014 as the perfect time act, what with the NSA leaks and censorship being an increasing concern worldwide. Sir Tim defended Edward Snowden, saying that his whistleblowing was “in the public interest” and that we should be worried about the “growing tide of surveillance and censorship” all over the world.
He said: “In front of us are two roads – which way are we going to go? Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control – more and more surveillance? Or are we going to set up a bunch of values? Are we going to set up something like a Magna Carta for the World Wide Web?”
Any constitution on internet freedoms should look at the issues surrounding copyright and how ethics work on the internet. His online bill of rights will be included in a campaign called “Web We Want” which hopes to have a worldwide review of internet conventions.
What do you think? Would it ever be enforcible? Could anyone get the internet’s major players to even agree on a first draft?
Poor old Tesco. After posting falling profits at the end of last year, they are now the latest victim of data theft, with over 2,000 customers’ Clubcard data hacked, and vouchers nicked from wide open accounts.
It has been reported that a list of 2,239 Tesco.com accounts was published on Pastebin yesterday with some customers complaining of being thrown out of their own accounts and that their vouchers have gone missing.
Tesco said that it was “urgently investigating” the situation: “We have contacted all customers who may have been affected and are committed to ensuring that none of them miss out as a result of this,” Tesco said in a statement.
“We will issue replacement vouchers to the very small number who are affected.”
While Tesco are coming under fire for this breach, it is probably not really Tesco’s fault. It is believed that hackers obtained username/email address and password data through other hacks, and then applied the hacked data to the Tesco’s database- gaining entry to those accounts who may have used the same password/email address combination.
Trey Ford, global security strategist at Rapid7, told The Register that the breach highlighted again the danger of reusing passwords across multiple accounts.
“The attackers seem to have picked up usernames and passwords that were leaked after breaches of other, potentially unrelated organisations, and by trying them on Tesco’s site, they were able to compromise 2,239 Tesco.com customer accounts,” he said.
“So far the information available indicates that the impact of this has been relatively limited – stolen vouchers – but if attackers have tried this on Tesco.com, the chances are they are also trying it on other sites too and so we may see additional fallout.”
Nevertheless, customers of Tesco’s facebook page have suggested a lack of confidence in the security of Tesco.com’s online shopping portal, and that they may be turning elsewhere.
Tesco was already under data breach fire this week after accidentally emailing a list of customers who were attempting to buy a trampoline without bcc-ing the email addresses- sharing around 300 email addresses between complete strangers at any one time. One customer claimed to have received the email five times, gaining access to a list of 1500 Tesco customers’ email addresses.
GreatFire.org, a group which focuses on China-based freedom of speech, said in a statement that Microsoft search engine, Bing, was filtering search results for search terms like “Dalai Lama”, on behalf of the Chinese authorities (who think that the Dalai Lama is a violent political separatist).
Microsoft said it was a system fault that had removed some search results for users outside China and this is nothing like that time they censored the Chinese versions of their smartphones and Skype. Nothing at all.
“Due to an error in our system, we triggered an incorrect results removal notification for some searches noted in the report but the results themselves are and were unaltered outside of China,” Stefan Weitz, senior director for Bing.
You’ll notice that Weitz didn’t say whether or not they’d fixed the problem or, indeed, if the Bing team have any intention of sorting this out.
And what did Microsoft tell China? Well, they sent out an edited version of their statement to Chinese media organisations and handily omitted any references to GreatFire.org. Why? A China-based Mircosoft spokesperson said: ”There were too many points in the original statement.”
It goes without saying that China isn’t too keen on social media networks and censorship is not something Chinese governments have ever shied away from. This means that any internet companies wanting to work there have to be careful or cavalier. They usually choose ‘careful’ because there’s a lot of money to be made from the Chinese market. Still, you have to assume that the comment sections on Chinese website aren’t a cesspit of flaccid yelling and people saying “everything isn’t as good as it used to be!”, which is something.
Thank goodness that there’s absolutely no examples of internet giants kowtowing to governments in the West, eh?
This six-week pilot scheme promises that the technology will allow staff to “deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalised customer service yet”.
Staff will use a purpose-built dispatch app built by SITA and the Virgin Atlantic passenger service system, in a bid to make everything more efficient and give customers more information when needed, provided you find yourself in the Upper Class Wing.
Dave Bulman, director of IT, Virgin Atlantic, said: “Our wearable technology pilot with SITA makes us the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can improve the customer experience. We are upholding Virgin Atlantic’s long tradition of shaking things up and putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience.”
It also seems like staff will be able to walk around filming customers with Glass too and that all that lovely information about who is flying could be used for marketing gains and whatnot. If you see one of these concierges, be sure to ask them if they’re recording you at all.
Beleaguered Barclays are staring down the barrel of yet more fines after they stated that they’re looking into the reasons why 27,000 of their customers had their data stolen and flogged by bad people on the black market.
According to a statement, they said they’d notified regulators over the data breach and started their own probe.
“This appears to be criminal action and we will co-operate with the authorities on pursuing the perpetrator,” said Barclays.
If you had any dealings with Barclays Financial Planning wing (which closed in 2011) and haven’t heard from the bank yet, it would be worth getting in touch to see what you need to do or, indeed, to see what free stuff you can get by way of compensation.
The Barclays statement continued: ”Protecting our customers’ data is a top priority and we take this issue extremely seriously. We would like to reassure all of our customers that we have taken every practical measure to ensure that personal and financial details remain as safe and secure as possible.”
Cyber-attacks on financial institutions are becoming more frequent, but it seems our banks are slow to react to the whole thing, so maybe, just to be on the safe side, we should start drawing all our money out and hiding it under the bed and asking our banks to burn all our details in a huge pyre in a town square.
Do you like playing games on your phone, such as Angry Birds? Well, it has been reported that you users of these apps are leaving their personal info wide open so that governments can secretly harvest all your lovely data.
This comes from the infamous former NSA bod, Edward Snowden. He says that officials from the NSA (and its UK counterpart GCHQ) have developed ways of nabbing your personal details through games and apps so they can find out your age, location and, in some cases, political views and sexual orientation.
NSA officials told The New York Times: “The NSA does not profile everyday Americans as it carries out its foreign intelligence mission. Because some data of US persons may at times be incidentally collected in NSA’s lawful foreign intelligence mission, privacy protections for US persons exist across the entire process.”
Meanwhile, NBC have also stated that GCHQ showed off a pilot program to the NSA where they monitored YouTube in real time while collecting addresses from the billions of videos watched daily. They were also able to snoop on Facebook and Twitter too.
They called this monitoring program “Squeaky Dolphin,” which is presumably a bid to make the whole thing sound funny should the truth of the matter end up being leaked to the public.